“The Prespes Agreement is a fair solution,” FYROM Prime Minister Zoran Zaev said and underlined that out of the four amendments to the Constitution required by the agreement, the most important one concerns the change of the name of the country to “North Macedonia”.
“This is what causes unpleasant feelings to the citizens of [FYROM], but it is a fact that we are the northern part of this historical area, as it is a fact that we have no ambition to annex Greece, Albania, Bulgaria or any other neighbouring country. Our only ambition is to open the borders, to extend a hand, to build friendships, something that will bring economic prosperity and other opportunities for the present and future generations. That is why it is important for us to clear our course towards the EU and NATO and for the name issue to be permanently resolved. That is why we have reached the point of changing the Constitution,” Zaev said on Thursday in an open debate in Skopje, held in the framework of the public consultation process to amend the FYROM constitution.
He added that the Prespes Agreement allows for respect of the right of self-determination and recalled that the EU had addressed FYROM with expressions such as “your language”, avoiding to use the phrase “Macedonian language” even though it has been recognised since 1977, or “your people”, to avoid talking about “a Macedonian people.”
“We are not becoming North-Macedonians because it is clearly designated that we are Macedonians, who speak the Macedonian language. And it is very important that nobody can doubt this. The right to self-identify as Macedonians is now considered settled. Our country is now recognized by everyone. The for us degrading name FYROM is not going to be used any more. The issue is the future that will we create for our children. Yes, it is accurate that we will be North Macedonia. But we will be Macedonians, who we will speak the Macedonian language,” Zaev added.